Lockheed Martin to Pay $115,000 to Settle EEOC Disability / Retaliation Discrimination Lawsuit

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Aerospace Giant Refused to Reasonably Accommodate Employee with Disability, Federal Agency Charged

WASHINGTON – Lockheed Martin Corporation and Lockheed Martin Enterprise Operations have agreed to pay $115,000 and provide other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Lockheed Martin subjected a former administrative assistant at its Crystal City, Va., facility to disability discrimination when it refused to grant reasonable accommoda­tions for her disability. The EEOC charged in its lawsuit that Lockheed Martin failed to engage in the required interactive process with the disabled employee to identify and provide reasonable accommo­dations, and instead placed her on long-term disability leave and eventually fired her. The EEOC also charged that, because of her disability and in retaliation for her opposing to discrimination, Lockheed Martin refused to reassign or rehire her to vacant positions for which she was qualified.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from discriminating against job applicants and employees with disabilities, such as by failing to provide them with reasonable accom­modations for their disabilities or discharging them or failing to hire or reassign them to vacant positions on the basis of their disabilities. The ADA also prohibits retaliation against employees for exercising rights under the ADA, such as opposing disability discrimination or seeking reasonable accommodation. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland (Civil Action No. 8:18-cv-02976) after attempting to reach a pre-suit settlement through EEOC’s conciliation process.

The two-year consent decree resolving EEOC’s lawsuit has been approved by the federal court. In addition to paying $115,000 in monetary relief to the employee with a disability, Lockheed Martin will provide specialized training on reasonable accommodation processes to managers and human resources; post a notice of employee rights under the ADA; and report employee reasonable accommodation requests to the EEOC.

“We commend Lockheed Martin for working collaboratively with the EEOC to resolve this law­suit,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. “The company’s willingness to confer with the EEOC about the agency’s concerns and its agreement to provide enhanced ADA training to its employees responsible for deciding reasonable accommodation requests will benefit both workers and the company.”

EEOC Washington Field Office Acting Director Mindy Weinstein added, “There are often simple and low-cost accommodations that employers can provide to workers with disabilities that do not cause an undue hardship on an employer’s business. By engaging in an interactive communication process with disabled workers, employers can identify such accommodations, accurately assess the ability of the workers to perform their jobs, and enable those workers to continue contributing to our economy. This is a not only a smart business practice but the right thing to do.”

North Bethesda, Md.-headquartered Lockheed Martin is an aerospace, defense, arms, security and advanced technologies company with worldwide interests. The company employs approximately 110,000 people worldwide as of January 2020.

The EEOC’s Washington Field Office has jurisdiction over the District of Columbia and the Virginia counties of Arlington, Clarke, Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, Loudoun, Prince William, Stafford and Warren; and the independent Virginia cities of Alexandria, Fairfax City, Falls Church, Manassas, Manassas Park and Winchester.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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